Choosing Wine for Your Wedding – Part 1

I have an exciting series of  five posts on choosing the right wine for you wedding. Claire Fowles is a sommelier and wine blogger for In addition she is busy planning her own wedding.


Wine (Photo credit: Uncalno)


Planning a wedding is a very big undertaking. Unless you’re an event planner or a Project Manager, it might very well be the most complex event you have ever organised. There are so many details to think of, some many things to take into consideration; it’s enough to make your head spin.


Once you have picked the venue and found the perfect outfit, your attention probably turns to the flowers and the cake. At some point, you will consider menus and attend tastings. You might never stop to think about the wine that will be served to your guests. Whether or not you have an open bar, a limited selection bar or a cash bar for your alcoholic beverages, most weddings include wine with the meal. It is usually a house wine, with a red and a white on offer.


You may have chosen a venue that allows you to provide your own wine and charges a “corking” fee, a fee to open and serve the wine. If you are having your wedding at a private residence, with a special event licence, you can have free reign on what you serve. In both those cases, you might even be able to serve wines not available at the LCBO, perhaps wine that you have ordered directly from a Niagara winery.


Most wedding venues, though, have a “house” wine that they offer with their wedding packages. This wine, like a restaurant’s house wine, will probably be the one with the highest profit margin for the venue. This does not mean that it is a bad wine. Indeed, it may be an excellent wine that appeals to most palates. I certainly recommend you try it before deciding to serve it.


But there are so many wines in the world today that I encourage you to discuss wine options with your venue or caterer. Ask them what is the price range in which you could look to substitute your choices for theirs. For example, the venue might be charging you $40 a bottle for a $15 bottle of wine. Ask if you can look at their wine list for other $15 bottles of wine that you might like better. Of course, if you are willing to pay more, you can always look for more expensive wines that you like better; you might even find less expensive ones. Price is not an arbiter of taste.


Should you not find a wine on the list that you like, keep looking. As venues in Ontario must be licenced by the province, they are limited in what they can serve but they will usually be able to bring in any wines in stock at LCBO under that licence. They should also be able to bring in wines not on the LCBO lists but through licenced private importers. The venue or caterer is there to provide a service to you; they should be willing to work with you on your wine choices. In cases where the wine is brought in specifically for you, the venue or caterer will charge you a corking fee per bottle (often $20 – $25 per bottle).


The point I am making is that you and your fiancé(e) have personalities that you are expressing in the wedding you are planning. Your clothes, your ceremony, your decorations, all say something about who you are. In addition to matching your wine to your meal, it should reflect who you are. With a little research and a few tastings, you should be able to find something that both fits your budget and your style.


Whether or not your wedding is a small, intimate event or a grand affair, you can find a wine or two that will fit both your budget and your personal style.


Stay tuned for some ideas for wedding wines for your wedding in Ontario, from the modern to the traditional, from the smaller budget to the larger one.


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